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Art & Culture

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus’ Song “Rainbowland” Banned in Wisconsin School

  • Craig Miller
  • |
  • June 12, 2023
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  • 2 minute read
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Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus’ Song “Rainbowland” Banned in Wisconsin School

Key Takeaways
  • Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha, Wisconsin bans first-grade class from performing "Rainbowland" by Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus due to controversial lyrics.
  • Parents believe the ban is due to the song's promotion of LGBTQ acceptance and reference to rainbows.
  • In response to the ban, Miley Cyrus' Happy Hippie Foundation donates to Pride and Less Prejudice, an organization providing LGBTQ-inclusive books to young students.
  • The ban sparks conversation on LGBTQ+ inclusivity in schools, with dual language teacher Melissa Tempel raising concerns about its implications.
  • The Waukesha Superintendent claims the ban is based on the song's appropriateness for the students' age and maturity level, but no specific reason is given.

A first-grade class at Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha, Wisconsin, has been prohibited from performing the song “Rainbowland” by Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus at an upcoming concert.

The School District of Waukesha County deemed the song’s lyrics controversial, potentially violating Board Policy 2240 – Controversial Issues in the Classroom.

Song Encourages LGBTQ Acceptance and References Rainbows

Parents in the district believe the song was banned because it promotes LGBTQ acceptance and refers to rainbows.

The policy defines a controversial issue as a topic with opposing viewpoints, intense public argument or disapproval, and potential political, social, or personal impacts on students or the community.

Instead of “Rainbowland,” the first-grade students will perform “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit the Frog at the concert.

The event, themed “The World,” will also feature songs such as “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles and “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

The Waukesha Superintendent, James Sebert, stated that the question revolved around whether the song was appropriate for the age and maturity level of the first-grade students.

Miley Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation Supports Students

In response to the song’s removal, Miley Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation, a nonprofit supporting the LGBTQ community and homeless youth, made a donation to Pride and Less Prejudice.

This organization provides LGBTQ-inclusive books to pre-K through third-grade classrooms. The foundation expressed its support for the Heyer Elementary first-grade students, encouraging them to continue being themselves.

Controversy Sparks Conversation on LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Melissa Tempel, a dual language teacher at Heyer Elementary, brought attention to the issue by calling out the school district on Twitter.

She chose the original song due to its universal message and shared her students’ disappointment when it was vetoed.

Tempel also expressed concern for what such bans mean for the LGBTQ+ community and inclusivity in schools.

The Waukesha Superintendent, James Sebert, stated that the question revolved around whether the song was appropriate for the age and maturity level of the first-grade students. 

However, Melissa Tempel pointed out that no specific reason for the ban was provided by the district, with the only common thread between the initially banned “Rainbow Connection” and “Rainbowland” being the word “rainbow.”

The ban has sparked conversations around inclusivity and acceptance in schools, with support from Miley Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation highlighting the broader implications of such decisions.

Craig Miller

Craig Miller

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